Glider towing was a very good experience.
Figures-wise, this represents some 1300 tow flights, on a 6 days on / 1 day off pattern, up to 14 consecutive flying days on some occasions.
I had the chance to do tows up to FL120 (12,000ft) for the National Test Pilots School (EPNER in France, equivalent of the British Empire Test Pilots School or the USAF Test Pilot School).
Figures stay figures, however it taught me a great deal of experience. I have had one engine failure on take-off (towing a heavy loaded two-seater glider), one occasion where the glider had its spoilers/speedbrakes stuck in the out position giving us a negative rate of climb on the initial path, several cable breaks, etc...
We operated in some serious weather conditions, with winds up to 40 kts, CBs forming all around on a daily basis, ...
When the airfield was flooded after heavy rains, we were to used the paved runways only.
Landing on the South-East side of the field, the Landing Distance Available was 120m (390ft), not much for this sort of planes.
Overall, an enjoyable and very valuable experience.
As always, good things come to an end, but yet the next step is one of which I have dreamt for years. Hired by a European airline, I started the Boeing 737NG Type Rating a few weeks ago and I should be flying the real aircraft around Christmas, first flights with passengers in January.
Type Rating program:
Week 1: Introduction, which covers topics such as our company's culture, CRM (Crew Ressource Management), SOP's (Standard Operating Procedures), Safety, Emergency Procedures, Survival and ditching training, Dangerous Goods, Fire and smoke drills, Operation of doors, ...
Weeks 2 to 4: CBT - Computer Based Training (Aircraft general knowledge and systems), FMS training (FMS simulator), SOP's training (cockpit mock-ups), Performances calculation, Mass & Balance, RVSM.
Weeks 5 to 10: Simulator training (60h of fixed base and full flight (full motion) simulator, and a further 20 hours as observer) and briefings.
LST: Licence Skills Tests (1 day),
Simulator Circuit Training (1 day),
Base Training (6 to 10 circuits on the actual aircraft, flown without passengers).
Airborne life continues...